“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
Every now and then the Universe gazes with favor upon an unsuspecting human being and gifts the person with something so awe-inspiring it can only be called a miracle. The tumor that showed up on earlier images is now gone. The person who never played the lottery buys a winning ticket. The fire that consumed an entire home spares the family dog who was hiding in a closet.
I believe in a loving and benevolent Universe. I know that people have the ability to manifest wondrous and fulfilling lives. Yet, even with those beliefs, I couldn’t find the path that would take me from feeling lost and forgotten to knowing I was cherished and my life mattered. It seemed the Universe didn’t know who I was.
My body, mind and spirit had taken a beating over the years. In my heart I’d forgiven my father for years of sexual and psychological abuse I’d suffered at his hands decades earlier. I’d forgiven my mother for protecting my father and refusing to intervene on my behalf.
No one ever spoke about what happened. It was as if NOTHING had happened. A long line of well-intentioned therapists couldn’t break through my wall. Two spinal surgeries and twenty-five years of debilitating back and neck pain had left me exhausted. My spine was collapsing and there was nothing more the surgeon could do. It was becoming difficult to write and illustrate my books for animal lovers. Images of dragons and swords called to me but I kept them at bay. The knight I’d dreamed of as a little girl had never appeared. There would be no rescue.
Which brings me to July 1, 2012—the day when everything I thought I knew about the world, and my place in it, exploded into a million little pieces. The Universe hadn’t forgotten me after all! One moment I was sprawled in front of the television and the next moment a knight from a mythical kingdom stepped through a portal in time and space and awakened me from a spell.
I was watching the show Merlin, a BBC fantasy about the legendary wizard that takes place in Camelot. The episode, called Sins of the Father, depicted a sword-wielding Prince Arthur releasing his murderous rage on King Uther, the father who had betrayed him. Arthur’s determination to end the king’s life at the point of his blade was especially meaningful to me because—as a helpless 8-year-old girl—I had tried to burn my house down to rid the family of my father’s treachery.
Watching this scene detonated something inside me. Suddenly I was screaming in my bedroom, stabbing my nails into my palms and shaking the post on my canopy bed so hard the top rails fell off. Decades of unexpressed rage spewed out of me. In my mind Arthur wasn’t raging at his father, he was raging at my father for what he had done to me. Arthur had become the one thing I’d needed my entire life—a champion.
The scene left me collapsed on the floor, but when I stood up, I stood up strong. That’s when I realized something miraculous had happened—I was pain free! I would come to believe that I’d held all those decades of unexpressed rage in my spine. My mother’s refusal to protect me had left me feeling I had no value. I was worthless. Arthur using his sword to battle on my behalf had not only expelled my rage, it had shown me that I DID have worth. I was worthy of being protected.
Thus began a two-year journey of self-discovery that would lead to the writing of my sixth book, Breathing Fire. I spoke with experts on the brain and received valuable insights about my spontaneous healing. I was given permission from the Merlin writers to use their dialogue in my book. The body I’d been disconnected from all my life suddenly welcomed me as a trusted friend. It went through an automatic detox and righted itself in a way that left me healthier and lighter. I lost thirty pounds in three months.
The sword that had been calling to me for many years was finally ready to come home. I took up sword fighting and designed a magical blade that I had forged by a local blacksmith. I named my sword Clarity, for that is what I was given the night I watched Merlin.
I began mentioning my extraordinary experience to some of the readers of my critter books, sharing a few details about my abusive childhood. One by one, women began offering me their stories in return. I noticed an unnerving pattern—just about everyone had their own story of abuse or trauma to share. This would be consistent with the staggering statistics on the number of children who have been sexually abused, whether in the home or through their school, sport’s team or churches.
My abuse occurred many years ago. Today the subject is still one that is spoken of in hushed tones and survivors are often made to feel as if they’re tainted. The pain and suffering a child endures is unimaginable. Feeling worthless is a common result of abuse and it can impact every choice a survivor makes for the rest of their life. I know this all too well. I’m grateful to the many organizations that are committed to offering support to survivors and bringing this subject into the light.
It was said that old world cartographers used to write Beyond Here There Be Dragons where the known territory ended on their maps. This was to alert ships they were about to enter uncharted and dangerous waters. When Arthur unexpectedly opened a door into my world I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin an odyssey that would change me forever. I knew I couldn’t do this half-heartedly—I was being asked to commit both my heart and soul to doing something entirely on faith. Could this headstrong woman with the blood of a New Yorker still coursing through her body hand over the reins of her life and let an unknown force decide her destiny?
Then I remembered these words: Ships are safe in the harbor but that’s not what ships are for. In that moment I made my decision—I would surrender to the journey. If I encountered dragons along the way I would spread wide my scaly wings and join their dance in the skies knowing I, too, could breathe fire!
And in that knowing I found peace.
Christine Davis is the author and illustrator of five uplifting and inspirational books for dog and cat lovers. Her award-winning titles, including For Every Dog An Angel, For Every Cat An Angel and Forever Paws, bring comfort to readers all over the world.
Breathing fire was written after a miraculous event brought the author face-to-face with unexpressed rage from abuse she endured as a child. It dovetails perfectly with her books for animal lovers, for both genres address loss, grieving and navigating the road from sorrow to joy. In both cases, the path to healing comes through sharing stories.
For more information visit the author’s website Lighthearted Press. All Lighthearted Press books and eBooks are available from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
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